Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!
by [?]


Tramp! tramp! tramp! tramp! It was like the regular and rhythmic beat of a great machine. File after file, column after column, I watched the troops pass by. Tramp! tramp! tramp! tramp! On they went, and on, and on; all in perfect time and step; tramp! tramp! tramp! tramp! It reminded me of that haunting passage that tells us that ‘all these men of war that could keep rank came with a perfect heart to make David king over all Israel.’ They could keep rank ! It is a suggestive record. There is more in it than appears on the surface. They could keep rank ! Right! Left! Right! Left! Tramp! tramp! tramp! tramp! All these men of war that could keep rank came with a perfect heart to make David king over all Israel.


Half the art of life lies in learning to keep step. It is a great thing–a very great thing–to be able to get on with other people. Let me indulge in a little autobiography. I once had a most extraordinary experience, an experience so altogether amazing that all subsequent experiences appear like the veriest commonplaces in comparison. The fact is, I was born. Such a thing had never happened to me before, and I was utterly bewildered. I did not know what to make of it. My first impression was that I was all alone and that I had the solar system all to myself. Like Robinson Crusoe, I fancied myself monarch of all I surveyed. But then, like Robinson Crusoe, I discovered a footprint, and found that the planet on which I had been so mysteriously cast was inhabited.. There were two of us–myself and The Other Fellow.

As soon as I could devise means of locomotion, I set out, like Robinson Crusoe, to find out what The Other Fellow was like. I had a kind of instinct that sooner or later I should have to fight him. I found that he differed from me in one essential particular. He had hundreds of millions of heads; I had but one. He had hundreds of millions of feet; hundreds of millions of hands; hundreds of millions of ears and eyes; I had but two. But for all that, it never occurred to me that he was greater than I. Myself always appeared to me to be vastly more important than The Other Fellow. It was nothing to me that he starved so long as I had plenty of food. It was nothing to me that he shivered so long as I was wrapped up snugly. I do not remember that it ever once crossed my mind in the first six months of my existence that it would be a bad thing if he died, with all his hundreds of millions of heads, and left me all alone upon the planet. I was first, and he was nowhere. I was everything, and he was nothing. Why, dear me, I must have cut my first teeth before it occurred to me that there was room on the planet for both of us; and I must have cut my wisdom teeth before I discovered that the world was on the whole more interesting to me because of his presence on it. And since then I have spent some pains, in a blundering, unskilful kind of a way, in trying to make myself tolerable to him. And the longer I live the more clearly I see that, although he is an odd fellow at times, he is very quick to respond to and reciprocate such advances. He is discovering, as I am, that walking in step has a pleasure peculiar to itself.